5. Space Park
On a visit to the Hall of Science (also a remnant of the 1964 World’s Fair), you might see the tip of a rocket peeking above the trees. These space age relics are holdovers from the United States Space Park, an attraction created by NASA and the Department of Defense for the 1964 World’s Fair. The fair took place in the middle of the Space Race, so people were excited to see these vessels in person.
The two-acre park featured pieces of both the Mercury and Gemini space flight programs, including the “boattail” or propulsion section of the massive Saturn V rocket (the rocket that would eventually take astronauts to the moon), a Project Mercury spacecraft that had orbited the Earth, a model of the Apollo, a full-scale X-15 rocket-powered research airplane, and two giant rockets. The exact rockets that remain in the park today never traveled toward space, but were originally made for the Air Force in 1961 to carry nuclear warheads.
Like many remnants of the 1964 World’s Fair, the Space Park fell into disrepair. In 2001, the rockets were shipped to Akron, Ohio, to be restored by Thomarios®, a firm that has worked on rocket repairs for the Kennedy Space Center and the Smithsonian Institution. They were reinstalled in 2003 with a ceremony attended by Walter Cronkite and astronaut Ellen Baker. In 2010, a nine-hole mini-golf course was installed at the park which sits near the Hall of Science.